After vaginal delivery, about 50% of women often experience a sensation of looseness, or laxity, in the vagina, as well as urinary leakage. The looseness is caused by the effect of stretching or tearing on levels of collagen in the skin and vaginal tissue, which affect vaginal elasticity.
Women who experience vaginal laxity may also have a lower libido, loss of sexual arousal, and lessened sexual satisfaction. These result in a negative impact on the sexual function, body image and quality of life of many women after childbirth.
- Kegel exercises are important before and after childbirth to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, and are beneficial for women who experience vaginal laxity and bladder incontinence. However, there is not much evidence that these exercises result in vaginal tightening.
- Women who have mild vaginal laxity might benefit from tightening creams that help increase blood flow to the vagina and improve skin elasticity.
- In severe cases, surgical methods such as labiaplasty, vaginoplasty, hymenoplasty, and perineoplasty may help, which repair the labia, vagina, hymen, and perineum, respectively.
New treatments options are being developed to improve vaginal tightening after childbirth, and many women may consider nonsurgical skin rejuvenation options that utilize different technologies, outlined below. What has always been assumed to be an inevitable consequence of vaginal births has recently become treatable, which makes many women curious about the possibilities.
Radiofrequency (RF) ablation
Radiofrequency ablation is a skin-tightening treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to heat tissue and stimulate collagen production. The procedure claims to tighten inner and outer labia, as well as improves dryness, mild urinary incontinence, and sexual function. Treatments that use radiofrequency energy include Geneveve, ThermiVa, and BTL Protégé Intima.
Laser energy is an alternative to RF treatment, and aids in resurfacing the vaginal skin, while also stimulating the rerowth of new collagen, blood vessels, and nerve endings below the surface of the vaginal walls. This treatment attempts to restore the deep layer of the vaginal skin, which is responsible for the elasticity of the vagina, the lubrication of the skin, and the sensitivity of the vaginal canal. Laser treatment aims to increase lubrication and sensation during intercourse, tighten the vaginal canal, enhance ability to reach orgasm, and improve urinary control. Some women may experience sensitivity, discharge, or spotting a few days after the procedure.
This type of treatment may be a good option for women experiencing painful intercourse, vaginal dryness, vaginal laxity, or stress urinary incontinence, and can be targeted to specific regions. It can also be used to treat vaginal dryness after menopause. FemTouch, MonaLisa Touch, diVa, Intima, FemiLift are examples of lasers used for vaginal rejuvenation.
The “crotch lift”
Vaginal narrower threads can be used to narrow and tighten the vagina loosening that results from natural labor. Often cringingly called the “crotch lift”, this technique involves putting anchoring threads with hooks onto the vagina, while other threads are introduced through very small and shallow incisions in the subcutaneous tissue and muscle located shallowly under the skin. The threads are tied, narrowing the vaginal entrance. This treatment is performed under local anesthesia and results in improved vagina and crotch comfort and functioning.
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy (PRP) is a non-invasive treatment that can tighten vaginal laxity by using your own platelet rich plasma to stimulate stem cells and growth factors to regenerate vaginal tissue. During the procedure, your blood is drawn and centrifuged to separate out the platelets. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the vaginal tissues, and is very useful for tissue regeneration and healing.
Women who experience vaginal looseness after delivery now have several non-invasive options at their disposal, but should consult their heathcare practitioner to decide which is the best for their situation.